Hello and welcome back to The SoccerNation Report. Today I've got a lot to cover, so let's get started.
The Lead Story- Yuri Zhirkov is officially a Chelsea player. The Russian international left back has completed a move from CSKA Moscow for 18 million pounds. The move makes it three Russian internationals that have moved to London in the past year alone. The first was Roman Pavlyuchenko's move to Tottenham and the other was Andrei Arshavin going to Arsenal. The 25 year-old is a converted fullback that gets into the attack very well. He is very versatile and will help the Blues out considerably. This move seems to have Ashley Cole on the outs, but we will have to see. I just don't know why they would buy Zhirkov for 18 mil and then sit him on the bench. The Russian star will reportedly make 80,000 pounds a week for four years time. This move is a very good one for Chelsea. Zhirkov is much better than at defence than Ashley Cole and is much more consistent. He is also more equipped to go forward because he has a killer long-range shot that can be netted from 35-40 yards out. Zhirkov is also good on free-kicks and can do well with his left foot for Chelsea. For Ashley Cole, this will likely send him out of town. The tabloids have him linked with Real Madrid, but that is very unlikely. A move like Manchester City wouldn't be surprising. For Zhirkov, the move will help improve him even further. This Russian exodus is a good thing for the Russian National Team and for Zhirkov. This move will test Zhirkov in the toughest league in the world and will give him vast amounts of experience going forward with Russia. For Russia, the extra experience will help them in the World Cup (should they qualify). I applaud Chelsea for this move. This is the type of player that Liverpool, Manchester, and Arsenal should have been looking at as well. Very good signing.
A Few Quick Rumors-
Manchester United are set to sign Bordeaux striker Gabriel Obertan. He is only 20.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has declared that John Terry will never leave the club.
Inter have reportedly cooled their interest in Chelsea pair Deco and Ricardo Carvalho.
Everton are set to make their first signing of the off-season. They are set to sign American Antonio Peterlin from Ventura County Fusion after impressing on a 10 day trial run.
Andrea Pirlo is reportedly happy to stay for the remainder of his contract at AC Milan.
Franck Ribery is now saying that he does not want to quit Bayern Munich. This marks the umpteenth time that he has said this.
CONCACAF Gold Cup Update
Group A- Matchday 1
Canada 1, Jamaica 0. Ali Gerba hit the winner in the 74 minute on a beautiful volley. Canada had the better of chances, but both keepers came up big for their sides.
Costa Rica 1, El Salvador 2. The Costa Ricans underperformed again and dropped the match to ES. Osael scored first in the 19th minute for ES. Then Warren Granados scored for Costa Rica in the 63rd and gave the appearance that they would go on and win. But it wasn't meant to be. Osael scored in the 85th to give the three points to ES. Costa Rica had more chances, but ES took advantage of good finishing to win it.
Tuesday at Columbus Crew Stadium: Jamaica v. Costa Rica (7:00 EST), El Salvador v. Canada (9:00 EST)
Group B- Matchday 1
Honduras 1, Haiti 0. The Hondurans saved face pretty late in this one against Haiti, who really aren't that bad of a team. Honduras was dominated for most of the match, but Carlos Costly hit the winner for them in the 75th minute.
Grenada 0, United States 4. The US completely dominated Grenada with the fringe and want-on players. The US had goals from Freddy Adu (6), Stuart Holden (30), Robbie Rogers (59), and Charlie Davies (67). Grenada had only 2 shots and the US had 12. If not for many great saves from Grenada's Desmond Noel, the score would have been worse.
Wednesday at R.F.K. Stadium: Haiti v. Grenada (7:00 EST), United States v. Honduras (9:00 EST)
Group C- Matchday 1
Panama 1, Guadeloupe 2. For the second consecutive Gold Cup, Guadeloupe have impressed. They scored twice in the first half. Loic Loval scored in the 33rd minute and David Fleurival scored in the 42nd minute. Panama pulled one back via Nelson Barahona in the 68th, but it wasn't enough.
Nicaragua 0, Mexico 2. Mexico has taken another win from a CONCACAF opponent with an easy 2-0 victory. Luis Noriega scored a penalty in the 45th minute and Pablo Barrera scored in the 85th minute. Nicaragua only had 2 shots and Mexico had 9.
Thursday at Reliant Stadium: Guadeloupe v. Nicaragua (8:00 EST), Mexico v. Panama (10:00 EST)
Classic Match of the Day- [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZrdMQKo4Zw&feature=related[/youtube]
Well, I hope you liked it. It's been Keeper and I'm out.